SB: If there’s ANYONE who hasn’t heard of freestyle or Corina, briefly tell us a little about yourself like your nationality, where did you grow up, etc?
CKA: My Parents were born in Puerto Rico and Both came to NY at an early age. I was born and raised in New York City’s BARRIO and SOUTH BRONX. I am a NUYORICAN.
SB: Since you’ve been performing since the age of 3 and having had formal training in ballet, vocal training and theatre, would you have preferred a career in dance first or acting instead of starting with singing?
CKA: I am a performer. By that I mean I have always done all of it with nothing taking precedence over the other. It just so happened that while doing Talent contests, someone suggested I record with them. I was 14 the first time I recorded in a studio. I was signed as a recording artist first but I have never considered myself a singer more than an actor.
I’m a performance artist that can now add Writer, Producer and Director to my credits. I learned to do all of it so I could survive in this business. It has helped me create and do the kind of work I want to do as apposed to the kind of limited work they have offered me as a Latina woman. Hollywood still hasn’t figured out what to do with us.
SB: Where do you think you and freestyle would be if Hot 103 never changed their format?
CKA: Well, I have a whole other idea about that regarding collective consciousness. YES, Hot 103 DID change their format which in turn left most of us, 98% out in the cold. Considering how they came to be in the first place, that was, well, sad. However, there was no unity amongst us in the Freestyle market amongst the artists, producers, labels etc… It was a dog eat dog amongst us so the sudden end to Freestyle, at that time, was inevitable. The fact that our entire careers could rely on one station says it all.
I survived the moment the format changed because I believe that along with artist like Safire, I had a bigger vision for my career. I always thought outside the box. I wanted to make music the world could enjoy and that is what I did. My music was true to its Genre while not stifling me, creating just another casualty when one radio station said NO MORE. My song “Temptation” is a huge accomplishment for me because of that. It came out when the so called END to freestyle on radio had arrived and it went on to be true to the music while traveling to a new audience straight across America and out!
I’m all about taking responsibility for my part in something that goes wrong just as I do when it goes right. While I feel there is a lot of injustice in the entertainment business, especially when it comes to Latino’s, I have to say that they would not be able to touch us if we had unity and support amongst us. We would sponsor, support and build our own musical and entertainment empires.
SB: You have had a handful of movies where you have worked alongside artists and actors such as Marc Anthony, Iris Chacon, India, John & Joan Cusack, Bill Murray, Ruben Blades, Hank Azaria, Carlos Leon, and many more. Did you ever think you would be in movies and working with any of them?
CKA: Absolutely! First of all why bother doing anything if you don’t consider doing it all the way. I don’t see myself as any different from any of those people. I am a passionate artist looking to express her work in the best light. That is what all of them have done and succeeded at.
SB: Have you taken a break from acting or left acting for singing with your new Salsa album or do you want to continue with both?
CKA: I live and breathe my art. There is no stopping this to do that. This year I will be producing my One Woman show “FEAR AND ALL OF ME” again, releasing a Salsa album “Lagrimas de Sangre”, completing a Screenplay I am in the middle of writing called “BUTTERFLY” along with preparing a short film I wrote called “SKYY” through the film festival circuit. Its all a performance and I am living my passion through my work.
SB: This I personally enjoyed since I am an alumni from FACES and did theater scenes very similar with what you did with your one-woman show. What made you write and perform your one-woman show “Fear and all of me” and how did you come up with the characters of Ayalet, Nena, Damris, and Bambi?
CKA: “FEAR AND ALL OF ME” was written by me because someone told me I couldn’t do it. I have learned that when you feel passionate about something, YOU HAVE TO JUST DO IT! You should not go around sharing the ideas with people in the hopes of getting their opinions to gain the strength you need to move on it. People will always tell you why something WON’T work because it is based on their own views about the world. Support and inspiration is something you can get from other artists but if what you are looking for is approval, or the permission to feel good about what you’re doing from another person, someone outside of yourself, You’re already doomed.
I was frustrated with the parts my Acting agent was sending me out for and decided to stop complaining and write a show full of characters I wanted to do. I shared my first monologue with a close friend at the time, she shot me down. She had gone to school for theatre and writing for many years and talked about writing a One Woman Show. Five years later she was still talking about it. I shared one of my characters and before I could finish it she told me all the reasons why I could not do it. She hated the idea, the monologue, the character, everything. I was crushed for a day or so. She was someone who’s opinion meant an enormous amount to me. It may have meant more to me than my own.
I took a good hard look at that and realized she gave me a gift. She changed my life forever. I got back on my horse and continued writing. The character she shot down, by the way is one of my audience’s favorite, NENA! I changed nothing. That young woman and I don’t speak anymore and she never wrote her play. She taught me a valuable lesson.
SB: I think this is a very strong and emotional balled. Why did you write “Runaway” and what’s the story behind that song and video?
CKA: What people experience when they see that video is the pain I was in during that time of my life. My father had just passed away, I was questioning life and my purpose in it and the words are saying exactly what I was feeling. I’m asking God, Source, the Universe or whatever people call our Life Source, “What do you want me do? I can’t feel the way they do.” The idea being, I cannot pretend to feel and believe something I am not FEELING in my life right now.
I am not religious but I am spiritual. My connection to my spirit and the spirits of my sisters and brothers all around the world is what brings my work through me and to them. I believe my work is written through me and not by me. That IS the gift and I get to share it with all I come into contact with.
SB: “Your experience in life is what you believe it to be” is something you said a year ago, can you elaborate on that?
CKA: Well my father always said that he believed there were LUCKY people and UNLUCKY people… He felt himself to be one of the unlucky ones and so HE WAS! My father gambled everyday, all the while expressing his expectation to lose and he did. He always talked about how hard his life had been and how he would one day die of a heart attack. He did. Its the glass half full, half empty philosophy. He could never see that it was half full.
I work hard on expressing gratitude for all the blessings in my life everyday. I have many and I mean many blessings that money could not buy or replace in any way. People who have supported my work and fed me by allowing me to do what I love and sustain myself, that is a blessing I am still brought to tears about. Life is truly what you believe it to be. The sad thing is when those beliefs are not even yours but the belief of parents that passed it on to you. You must get to a place in your development when you think for yourself. Keep the ideas that work for YOU and throw the rest of them away.
SB: Where will Corina be in 5 years?
CKA: Traveling the world meeting new beautiful supporters of my work and saying thank you. I have plans to build a school based on the Science of Mind philosophy and I will by then start an art scholarship for low income children with a desire to be entertainers.